Greg Watling is a husband, father, and pastor at First Congregational United Church of Christ in New London. His wife, Cindy Goller, works outside the family as a senior buyer at Paper Converting Machine Company in Green Bay. Together the couple has three children: Sarah (17), a junior at New London High School; Robbie (20), a junior at Michigan Technological University majoring in computer science; and Ryan (22), a senior at Northern Michigan University, majoring in neuroscience and Spanish. “I love to talk about my kids, so stop me if I go on too long,” he joked, adding, “And they are all exceptional athletes, which neither of their parents can claim.”
Greg and Cindy first met in a college youth group at Michigan State University. She was earning a degree in industrial engineering; and Greg; a bachelor’s degree in American public affairs. He went on to pursue a degree from the Saint Paul School of Theology in Kansas City and first served at a UCC church in De Pere, Wisconsin. In 2007, his family moved to New London to accept his call to First Congregational UCC.
Greg became familiar with Samaritan Counseling Center because of their presence at New London United Methodist Church at 709 W. Pine Street. (The Center had earlier operated from his church’s site from 1993-2006.) “Samaritan fills a vital need for increased access to mental health services in New London. We are in desperate need of high quality services that treat people well and help make them whole.” He joined the Samaritan board of directors in 2016 and was also instrumental in bringing the Community Wellness Screen Program to New London schools in 2017 to help identify and refer young people in need of mental health services.
Greg embraces the opportunity to serve as the president of the Samaritan board of directors in 2019 in part due to his participation in the Center’s two-year continuous improvement project with other area non-profits. The POINT initiative, which stands for Poverty Outcomes Improvement Networking Team, taught him skills for identifying and driving change. He knows every aspect of Samaritan’s service is growing, and the employees and volunteers will benefit from systems and structures that optimize their impact on the lives of the people they serve. “For every faith, there is a promise. And with that promise, there is a certain amount of risk we take to step out in faith. We all need to bring our best to the table.”